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Updated: August 17, 2011 18:44 IST

Healthy mind really does live in a healthy body

ANI
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Cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow to the brain, supplying it with more oxygen and nutrients. Photo: N. Sridharan
THE HINDU Cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow to the brain, supplying it with more oxygen and nutrients. Photo: N. Sridharan

A new study has proved an old saying ‘healthy mind lives in a healthy body’.

Researchers from University of Gothenburg in Sweden have revealed that regular exercise boosts brain power of young adults.

It improves blood flow to the brain that could help build new brain cells.

The study involving nearly all Swedish men born between 1950 and 1976, scientists discovered that cardiovascular fitness was linked with overall intelligence.

The participants also scored on tests of logical, verbal, technical and visuospatial capabilities and even socioeconomic status and educational attainment later in life.

Researcher Georg Kuhn, a neuroscientist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, said cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow to the brain, supplying it with more oxygen and nutrients. Moreover, during exercise, growth factors are produced that could improve brain structure over time. This not only includes more and stronger connections between nerve cells, but also more neurons and supporting cells. “From animal experiments we know this is the case especially in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is important for learning and memory,” Live Science quoted him as saying.

Past research has suggested that cardiovascular fitness can benefit the minds of older adults. For instance, it can delay or reduce the onset and progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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